Callanetics Extreme

Callanetics Extreme is a 70 minute bodyweight strength workout. I decided to try it mostly out of curiosity. Amazon kept recommending it to me and it got great reviews. The trainer that leads the workout is a woman named Lacey Kondi. I did find this to be different than any other workout I’ve done. It was a mixture of bodyweight work, mat work and barre work–which are both body weight work. Two things really stand out about this workout. First, Lacey takes a lot of time to get your form perfect. Before you start any exercise she makes sure you are in proper position. Because of this, this is not a fast paced workout. In fact, in 70 minutes I barely perspired and only burned 115 calories. But that’s okay. Huge calorie burn is never really the point of barre and mat workouts. The second thing is that this is very high rep. Now, most barre and mat workouts are already high rep, but this one has a number it keeps coming back to–100 reps. You do 100 reps of most of the exercises. Also, these are very small movements. Once Lacey gets you into position, your 100 reps are small movements. And they do burn. Was it extreme? Eh, not for me. I felt it. It did work whatever muscle group it was focusing on and sometimes even burned it out, but I didn’t feel it deserved the label “extreme.” However, I have not done any other Callanetics workout and they have a whole line of workouts. So maybe for them, it is extreme (compared to their other DVD workouts).

My biggest complaint about this workout is the lack of chapter menu. Your only option is to play the 70 minute workout and though I did that the first time, I do not want to spend that long on my abs in the future. Since it starts with abs, at one point I fast forwarded just to make sure this wasn’t 70 minutes of core work and we hit other muscle groups, or I wasn’t going to bother finishing the workout but you do. The primary focus of this workout is core and lower body but there is some upper body work, too. In the future, I would like to just do the lower body work and skip all of the core work. Tho there is no menu, the workout is chaptered, so I can skip forward (rather than just fast-forwarding) to find the sections I am looking for. But it would be nice if there had been a chapter menu or premixes. So, FYI–lower body starts at 26:30 if you want to skip forward to it, the next 29 minutes is barre and mat lower body work–4 minutes of that is a stretch at the end. So if you do the one minute warm up, you have a 30 minute barre/mat lower body workout with a great stretch! That is how I will return to this workout. I probably won’t bother with the other 40 minutes of the workout in the future.

Callanetics is 70 minutes long; 1 minute warm up and 4 minute stretch at the end. However, you spend a significant amount of time stretching out your lower body at one point (4 minutes). The only equipment you need is a mat and a barre or chair. Lacey and class do the workout barefoot. The warm up is “up and downs,” which is a squat and stand while swinging your arms/hands overhead and down behind you. Then you stay low, hinged at the waist and knees bent, and continue swinging arms and doing smaller squats, never straightening legs. This is the first minute. I don’t know if the warm up ends here or if the first few exercises are part of the warm up, but you start your 100 rep moves after a minute of warming up, so that is how I will start the break down.

Upper Body & Core (25:30 minutes–begins after 1 minute warm up)

  1. Underarm Tightener, 100 reps: arms straight out to sides, rotate wrists backward so thumbs point to ceiling and pulse arms in and up behind you; she adds a challenge–standing on one leg while doing this
  2. Lean to side, arm overhead and stretching overhead to opposite side; pulse 100 reps
  3. Forward fold for a while to stretch
  4. Neck relaxer–rolling neck
  5. Pilates 100 (both bent knee and straight leg)
  6. Hip lifts (reverse crunch both bent and straight leg)
  7. Still laying on back, raise one leg straight to ceiling w/ other leg bent w/ foot on floor; pulse arms beside you just like in the pilates 100 (and do it for 100 reps); then she has you lift the bent leg and hold it straight a few inches off the floor
  8. Arm wave (3 sets of 15 reps): in C-sit, wave arms slowly up and down, from floor to just past shoulders
  9. Hold side elbow plank for 30 seconds
  10. Hold elbow plank for 30 seconds
  11. 5 push ups
  12. Hold elbow plank for 30 seconds
  13. Hold elbow side plank (other side) for 30 seconds
  14. 5 push ups
  15. Child’s pose to down dog

Lower Body Barre (15 minutes; starts at 26:30):

  1. Standing behind chair (or barre) w/ hands on chair back, feet in first position and knees out, raise up onto toes w/ heels pressed together; in this position you will do this series 3x: lower down a few inches and tilt tailbone in and out, lower down another 2-3 inches and tilt tailbone in and out, lower down another 2-3 inches and curl your tailbone in and hold it then pulse it up 10x in this position, now reverse this–raise up 2-3 inches and tilt tailbone in and out, raise up another 2-3 inches and tilt tailbone in and out–this completes one series; repeat 2 more times
  2. Wide leg plie, hands on back of chair (or barre) and do slow and deep plie squats; raise up on toes and do more deep and slow plie squats with heels raised
  3. Kneel onto knees with hands on back of chair (or barre) and open up right knee to side, toes close toes of left foot, raise right foot off floor a few inches and press backwards 100 reps; repeat on left leg
  4. Still on knees w/ hands on back of chair (or barre), extend right leg out straight to side and rotate leg so knee faces downward, raise leg and pulse 100 times; repeat on left leg
  5. Open and close: sit down w/ back to chair back, reach arms overhead so you are holding chair back, lean torso back, raise and bend legs so only toes are touching the floor (this feels like a combination core and lower body exercise); raise legs so they are straight in front of you and body is in a V, open and close legs, 2 sets of 10 reps (reps are slow)

Lower Body Mat Work (14 minutes; starts at 41:45)

  1. Pretzel (100 reps): sit on mat, one leg bent in front of you and the other bent behind you, so your legs are in a sort of Z or pretzel; raise both knee and foot of back leg off ground and pulse knee backward 100 reps
  2. Still in pretzel, straighten back leg out to side and pulse 100 times
  3. Straighten front leg and bring back leg in front of you, knee bent and foot on floor; pulse straight bottom leg 50x
  4. Repeat 1-3 on other leg
  5. 4 minutes of lower body stretching

Total Body Mat Work (10 minutes; starts at 56:00)

  1. Hold straight arm side plank for 30 seconds
  2. 10 pike push ups
  3. Hold straight arm side plank (other side) for 30 seconds
  4. Pelvic rotations: kneel and sit on heels, knees together, extend arms overhead w/ wrists crossed and palms together; raise hips a few inches off heels and tilt hips to right then to left (she calls it a figure 8)–this is done slowly
  5. Pelvic Scoops w/ Pulse: still kneeling, knees close together, arms in same position, raise up so you are kneeling but straight up (bottom not on heels); lower bottom almost to heels then curl tailbone as you slowly come back up with pelvis tilted (so “scooping” with pelvis as you raise and lower hips); do this series 5x and on last rep you hold at bottom w/ pelvis scooped/tilted and pulse hips/pelvis; repeat entire pelvic scoop series
  6. Sit back on heels and place hands on mat behind you and raise hips an inch off heels; tilt hips up 50x
  7. Start in runners lunge and transition into the split or as far as you can go

 

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